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American Political Culture And Its Representation Of Democracy, Equality, Individualism, And Liberty

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730003850 1,478 WORDS APURBA CHAKRABORTY American political culture is altogether vast and diversified; however, it retains one singular feature – it is a contradiction. At the core, the majority ideally has subscribed to the values of democracy, equality, individualism, and liberty. Even so, history attests to the fact that bona fide enforcement of such values is not consistent. The nation has simultaneously promoted equality while it denied equality. It has exercised open-mindedness toward other cultures while it rejected aspects of multiculturalism. It has upheld an individual’s right to private property while it used property to evaluate one’s worth. Nonetheless, the nation has maintained the democratic principles…show more content…
Rogers Smith argued in his thesis that the marker of America’s democratic nature as defined by Tocqueville, then reinforced in the writings of Myrdal and Hartz, stemmed from the absence of a European class system coupled with the lack of a hereditary monarchy (Smith 1993, 549). When held in contrast, this crafted the ostensible image of a remarkably egalitarian nation. Moreover, the prevailing belief at the time was that equality was intrinsic to the white male, thereby establishing the underpinning of the practice of ascriptive hierarchy. As described by Smith, the appeal and endurance in such an inegalitarian tradition existed in aspects that affirmed “an identity that has inherent and transcendent worth, thanks to nature, history, and God” (550). That is to say, the dilemma throughout history with entirely equitable ideologies takes root in the discontent of these inherently privileged elite being placed on the same plane with those they deem culturally and biologically inferior. Justifications for ascriptive practices have manifested in actions that include discriminatory hiring practices, ill-intended immigration restrictions, disenfranchisement through voting rights, and a doctrine deeming facilities and services as “separate but equal” (560-61). Such ploys blatantly come into conflict with egalitarian aspects of the nation’s political culture by subjecting select individuals to a substandard caste in American society.
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